Young Stars Set to Shine at WGC-Cadillac Match Play at TPC Harding Park
February 3, 2015
Youth will be served at the upcoming World Golf Championships-Cadillac Match Play at TPC Harding Park. At least, that’s how it appears for now.
As of this week, 21 players under the age of 30, including defending champion Jason Day, are inside the top 64 of the world rankings which would qualify for them entry into the championship, set for April 27-May 3 in San Francisco.
The under-30 contingent is headlined by world No.1 Rory McIlroy, who will make his seventh consecutive start at the event. McIlroy’s stellar play from 2014 has carried over with is win at last week’s European Tour Omega Dubai Desert Classic.
Also winning on Sunday was 24-year-old Brooks Koepka, an American who embodies the spirit of the World Golf Championships, and after failing to earn a PGA TOUR card in 2012, played the European Tour to gain valuable experience. Koepka shot a final-round 66 to come from three shots behind third-round leader Martin Laird to win the Waste Management Phoenix Open. The win moved the 2014 Sir Henry Cotton European Tour Rookie of the Year to No. 19 in the Official World Golf Ranking all but locking him in for the first Cadillac Match Play appearance of his career.
Other young talent includes 21-year-old Jordan Spieth (No. 9), Rickie Fowler (No. 11), defending FedExCup champion Billy Horschel (No. 14), Patrick Reed (No. 15), Victor Dubuisson (No. 16) and six-time European Tour champion Brendan Grace, who recently cracked the top 50 with his Commercial Bank Qatar Masters victory.
Here’s a look at how the youth movement currently stacks up in regards to the Match Play event at TPC Harding Park.
From the top 64 in the Official World Golf Ranking, the 16 players below are under 30 and have previously competed in the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Match Play.
Player Name OWGR AGE Cadillac Match Play Experience
Rory McIlroy No. 1 25 2009-14 (2014/T17, 2013/T33, 2012/2nd, 2011/T17, 2010/T17, 2009/T5)
Jason Day No. 8 27 2011-14 (2014/1st, 2013/3rd, 2012/T17, 2011, T9)
Jordan Spieth No. 9 21 2014 (2014/T5)
Rickie Fowler No. 12 26 2011-14 (2014/3rd, 2013/T33, 2012/T33, 2011, T9)
Hideki Matsuyama No. 14 22 2014 (2014/T17)
Victor Dubuisson No. 15 24 2014 (2014/2nd)
Patrick Reed No. 16 24 2014 (2014/T17)
Billy Horschel No. 17 28 2014 (2014/T17)
Chris Kirk No. 22 29 2014 (2014/T33)
Joost Luiten No. 34 29 2014 (2014/T33)
Keegan Bradley No. 35 28 2012-14 (2014/T33, 2013/T33, 2012/T17)
Webb Simpson No. 38 29 2012-14 (2014/T9, 2013/T5, 2012/T33)
Shane Lowry No. 44 27 2013 (2013/T9)
Branden Grace No. 45 26 2013-14 (2014/T33, 2013/T33)
Bernd Wiesberger No. 48 29 2014 (2014/T33)
Russell Henley No. 53 25 2013 (2013/T17)
From the top 64 in the Official World Golf Ranking, the five players below are under 30 and will compete in the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Match Play for the first time in their careers.
Player Name OWGR AGE
Brooks Koepka No. 19 24
Danny Willett No. 47 27
Alexander Levy No. 49 24
Brendon Todd No. 54 29
Tommy Fleetwood No. 55 24
As for Tiger Woods, it’s never a given that he will play in the event. Should he want to, he’ll have some work to do to get in. Following his dreadful performance at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, Woods fell to No.56 in the world rankings, which means he could miss out on qualifying for the first World Golf Championship event of 2015 at Trump National Doral (March 5-8).
Woods has not been lower than 58th in the world since winning the first of his 79 titles on the PGA Tour at the Las Vegas Invitational in October 1996.
If Woods fails to qualify for the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral, it would be only the second time in his career he’d be ineligible for a World Golf Championship event. The only other WGC for which Woods didn’t qualify was the HSBC Champions in 2011.
Looking ahead, the championship will feature a new format for the first time, featuring a new and exciting three-day group stage offering 96 matches over the first three days of competition (Wednesday, April 29 – Friday, May 1). Under the change, fans are guaranteed to see the best players in the world square off against each other in head-to-head competition for all of the first three days of matches. There will be no more “one and done” players as had been the case in the past.
Tickets are on sale at www.worldgolfchampionships.com or by calling 844-868-7468. Fans who purchase tickets prior to Monday, February 9 can save more than 50% on daily and weekly tickets.